The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the recipients of its “genius” grants today, and The Wire and Treme creator David Simon was among them. MacArthur Fellows receive $500,000 over five years, no strings attached.
“I can’t go in and wave Emmy awards, and I can’t go in and wave Nielsen ratings,” Simon says (hee) in his acceptance video, but he can brag about being part of this ultra-elite group.
In the context of sign-language linguistics, say, or stone carving, I’d like to believe that $500,000 goes a long way. But in television, that’s not even enough to make a pilot on most networks. It’s a sort of demented contrast in values. Thanks, America!
Okay, PopWatchers, you be the committee: Who in entertainment would you give a genius grant to?